________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 4 . . . .October 14, 2005


Teaching With Robert Munsch. Vol. 2.

Amy von Heyking and Janet McConaghy.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic, 2005.
61 pp., pbk., $12.99.
ISBN 0-439-95702-8.

Subject Headings:
Munsch, Robert N., 1945- Study and teaching (Elementary).
English language-Study and teaching (Elementary).
Language arts (Elementary).
Children's stories, Canadian (English)-Study and teaching (Elementary).


Review by Barb Taylor.

**** /4



Amy von Heyking, an assistant professor in the Department of Elementary Education at the University of Edmonton, and Janet McConaghy, a grade two teacher in Edmonton, have put together a terrific teaching unit on Robert Munsch books.

     It might be hard to believe but Robert wasn't always a writer.

     The book begins with a brief biography of Robert Munsch and how he came to be one of Canada's top children's authors. This section is followed by a question and answer session featuring a selection of questions posed by 8 to 10-year-old readers of Munsch's books and answered by Munsch himself.

     The students are then introduced to Michael Martchenko, the talented artist who has made Munsch's books instantly recognizable. We learn how Michael, working as a junior art director for an advertising company, came to be discovered by Robert Munsch. We also get an insider's look at Michael's creative process when it comes to illustrating a Munsch story, beginning with his "mind pictures" through to his full watercolour paintings.

When he was doing the illustrations for Mmm, Cookies!, Michael started what has become a tradition in his books with Robert Munsch - he put in a pterodactyl.

     The teaching units cover six popular Munsch titles: Andrew's Loose Tooth, BOO!, MMM Cookies!, Smelly Socks, Up Up Down and Zoom!. Each unit begins with the story behind the title.

The story behind Up, Up, Down

This book started as a simple phrase that Robert Munsch used to say to very young children. He would raise his hands up, up and then faaaaall down on the ground.

     Following this type of introduction, each unit proceeds through a summary of the story; questions to be asked before, during and after the story; two activities and reproducible sheets. Activities include making scary paper-plate masks in the BOO! unit and a story sequence organizer for Andrew's Loose Tooth. The units are cross-curricular, tying in social studies (tooth traditions from other countries), math ("How Many Cookies in the Jar" activity), Science ("Buoyancy and Boats" activity) art, music and drama.

     This book is well laid out and provides a good basic unit that covers these very popular Munsch books. While the units are geared to grades 1-3, teachers of younger and older children can easily adapt the ideas. The paper-plate mask would be a real hit in any preschool.

Highly Recommended.

Barb Taylor is a freelance travel writer and teaches Pre-Kindergarten in Calgary, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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